Pedal on Parliament TRIUMPH!

“A credit to yourselves, a credit to this city” as Scotland’s cyclists storm Parliament… a historic day for cycle advocacy in Scotland, one it’s a privilege even to write about.

“A credit to yourselves, a credit to this city” as Scotland’s cyclists storm Parliament

Huge numbers shut down central Edinburgh as ordinary people from all walks of life demand radical change

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The afternoon of April 28th saw carnage in Edinburgh as a horde of cyclists, officially estimated at two to three thousand strong, rode from the Meadows to Parliament – demanding that the Scottish government implement a raft of measures to address the challenges facing cyclists and the country.

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Nazca Fuego Review

A lowracer which is stable, practical, quick, and some load hauler! It can only be the Nazca Fuego, chosen steed of Laid-Back-Bikes owner David Gardiner.

Fast, efficient, practical. A lowracer for daily use and big trips alike.

Nazca Fuego review

The Fuego is a popular bike in the UK, one championed by David Gardiner of Laid Back Bikes, who lent me this demo (often used as his own means of transport).

With a seat height of around 35cm (but see David Gardiner’s comment), reclining down to 25 degrees, the Fuego is a fairly low, but by no means extreme model. In fact it was one of the first I tried- some years ago with a bike to work voucher burning a hole in my pocket!

Nazca Fuego review

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Cycling around the Pentlands

An Edinburgh loop around the Pentlands – one for the early birds, with ~55 miles, ~2500ft of ascent, bigger roads.

Some solid pain, high chance of seeing (chasing?) other riders, some longish pulls but no serious hills.

~55 miles, ~2500ft of ascent, good roads

Not one for rush hour

This route is a short form of the classic open road loops to the south of Edinburgh – getting some good miles under the belt without going too far from home.

As ever, the early bird enjoys the empty road, while latecomers may find the traffic (at either end just south of the bypass) less to their liking.

Pentlands Circumnavigation ride map

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Radical Banana Bags Review

Premium recumbent luggage, the Banana Bag side panniers are light, spacious, aerodynamic and very well built – with a price tag to match…

Recumbent luggage in all shapes, sizes, colours

As reported elsewhere, I borrowed gear from Laid-Back-Bikes in Edinburgh to take on a three day, ~200 mile tour around the west highlands of Scotland. This included a pair of excellent Radical Banana Bags (recumbent side panniers) which I’ll cover briefly here:

Radical Banana Bag recumbent review

The capacity of these bags is 55L, they’re reasonably water resistant, easy to use, light, stable, seem well built and come with a matching price tag…

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Challenge Furai 24″ review

The Challenge Furai 24″ is a sprightly, versatile SWB recumbent that could easily find a home as a commuter, tourer or all-round / errand bike (if you like elegant and expensive utility bikes!)

Versatile commuter, medium tourer, rough road warrior

Over Easter I had the pleasure of three days touring a Challenge Furai on loan from Laid-Back-Bikes in Edinburgh.

Challenge Furai 24 review
(Thoroughly drenched on the banks of Loch Sunart)

This was a short ride of a little under 200 miles, evenly split between each day.

We took the ferry from Oban to Craignure, rode round the periphery of Mull, got the ferry from Tobermory to Ardnamurchan, rode to the westernmost point of mainland Britain and thence to Glenfinnan via the wild road along the banks of Loch Shiel. On the third day we returned to Oban via the Corran ferry and sections of the Oban – Fort William cycle path.

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Spokes Hustings (Edinburgh Elections)

Pragmatically the SNP are going to be the largest party post-election, but they won’t have an overall majority.

This will give significant power to the Lib Dems and Greens, and so my own vote will be targeted at ensuring these two parties do well and the SNP do not gain from my ballot.

Spokes Hustings Edinburgh Council Elections

A quick report on the recent Spokes Hustings. The following councillors canvased for the “cycling vote”:

  • Steve Burgess – Scottish Green Party
  • Gordon Mackenzie – Scottish Liberal Democrats
  • Alasdair Rankin – Scottish National Party (SNP)
  • Lesley Hinds – Scottish Labour Party
  • Cameron Rose – Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Three of the above (Steve Burgess, Gordon Mackenzie and Cameron Rose) are Southside councillors. Do cycling councillors try to stand in Southside, or does Southside turn them into cyclists? 🙂

As much for my own benefit as anyone else’s, I’ve drawn together my thoughts on the hustings as follows:

Conclusion (tl;dr)

Personally, I was not impressed by the representations made by Labour, the SNP or the Tories. The Greens and Lib Dems came out looking good.

Pragmatically the SNP are going to be the largest party post-election, but they won’t have an overall majority. This will give significant power to the Lib Dems and Greens, and so my own vote will be targeted at ensuring these two parties do well and the SNP do not gain from my ballot.

I’ve also scrawled some thoughts on each councillor/party:

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Paper Bicycle Rack

The Paper Bike, now fitted with the essential “Starship Enterprise” luggage rack:

Strong enough to carry a grown man or two, good looking enough to portage artisanal coffee beans or hand-curated antiques through the Bike Shop Quarter.

It’s hard to imagine what more a rack could offer…

The looks of a bonny lass and strength of a raging highlander…

I was lucky enough to meet much-feted bicycle guru Nick Lobnitz at Laid-Back-Bikes in Marchmont on Saturday, just after he’d made a rather exciting delivery…

Paper Bicycle rack - the luggage solution

Yes, it’s the long-awaited luggage rack for the Paper Bicycle! Huzzah!

Combining the funky looks of the bike itself with a wee nod to the spaceships of Star Trek, the Paper Bicycle rack was exactly what you’d imagine – bold, stylish, and strong.

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